Chapter 6 - Choosing new skills
The room of the Pristine Residency was fairly huge. Hunters preferred resting in these specially made lodgings because of the safety that was guaranteed. Nobody wanted to be the rich and renowned hunter that was killed in their sleep.
There was a platter of fresh fruits on the side and a thick bed in the middle of the room. I sat down on the bed and emptied the [Core]s in my backpack to get a grasp of just how much funds I could get tomorrow. There were 38 [Focus], 54 [Strength], and 48 [Vitality] cores, mixtures of F & E rank. This many cores were only possible if you were a very high ranker soloing lower dungeons or from partying with others of the same caliber to attack high ranking dungeons
Just the cores alone would probably net me a grand total of $180,000 were I to sell all of them. I wouldn’t be able to even come close to purchasing a Rank C skill, But I could probably get 1 Rank D skill or 2 Rank E skills
If I choose to sell the [Minor Heal] I got from the BOSS of [Ape’s Paradise], that’s another $20-30 k. But I was keener on learning that skill myself after the fight with that bear
I was absent-minded as I looked at the [Core]s in front of me. Doing something like this was always a wish of mine, but never in my wildest dreams had I thought it would ever become a reality
My mind quickly went back to the period of confusion, when monsters were first introduced to the world. The last thing I remember saying to my parents was "You guys have fun!"
They were going to their anniversary date, finally some time away from their son who hadn’t yet left the house. Those were the last words.
Tears unconsciously fell from my eyes as my mind went back to that time. I remember the rage I felt. The powerlessness as I hid in the bas.e.m.e.nt. Away from the screams and growls that were clearly heard as if they were next to me.
All I did was clutch my phone and watch the news updates as it went from monsters had appeared, to advice for the people to hide in their homes, to super-powered humans and the military stepping in.
I hid in that bas.e.m.e.nt for 2 straight days before I even had the courage to go upstairs and eat something. The weeks that followed were just confirmation of many people that did not have their loved ones return to them. I was scared and ashamed at that time. My parents, who had done everything for me, were massacred by monsters while I cowered in fear
Time after that seemed to pass by in a blur. With the money my parents left behind, I was able to live off of it comfortably. It took months before I began to direct the rage and helplessness towards the things that did this, but I still wasn’t able to do anything about it
The months after that I spent learning every little thing I could about monsters, dungeons, awakened hunters, and the reality of our new world. Only today did I learn a skill book and awaken myself
I wiped the tears off my face as a resolute expression came back. I couldn’t do anything then, but I can change what I do now.
I set aside some F rank [Vitality] and [Strength] cores for me to absorb and grabbed the phone near the bed to order room service. I then learned the [Minor Heal] skill and tried the skill for the first time
A green light washed over my body, reducing some of the fatigue I felt. I also made [Arctic Armor] to be active at the same time, as its proficiency would increase the longer it was used, and its defensive properties would further increase. I then began absorbing some of the [Core]s I set aside
My food arrived not too long after, two plates of prime ribs with some water. I paused everything when I grabbed the food from the door and ate the steaks waiting for me. I turned on the T.V while eating to check if there was anything newsworthy that happened today. There was a bearded anchor in a suit talking to a celebrity hunter
"Mr. Doyle, you’ve just come back overseas from doing hero work over in Country Z of the United Federation, just how differently do the hunters live there compared to our great Blessed Empire?" News Anchor
"Haha, the work was fun, but it was definitely a new environment. Things are done very differently there. Dungeon diving is very strictly regulated, with Hunters having to mandatorily hand over more than half of their earnings over to the government. It was truly eye-opening to see." Celebrity Hunter
"My goodness! How can hunters live under such oppression? I would rebel! It is nothing like our great Empire, where Hunters are given the freedom to grow and prosper. It’s why we have such amazing heroes rising up over the years. God bless this great nation of ours!" News Anchor
"Well..." Celebrity Hunter
I quickly turned the T.V back off while shaking my head. Nothing noteworthy seems to be going on, just the usual propaganda being hurled at the common news watcher. The Blessed Empire...are we truly blessed? Compared to the United Federation, hunters here have a much higher death rate. The occasional dungeon breaks also cause mass casualties as response times were usually slow. Though I’m definitely lucky to be where I am, over the years I’ve to be skeptical of many of the things I hear.
Hunters from the United Federation lead vastly different lives, but from what I’ve seen in online forums they’re happy with the way things work. Of course, there are still many issues, but nowhere near as horrid as all our news networks make it out to be. Even the good things you see online could also be a false depiction though. So I guess I’d have to visit there myself to see how things are in the future
As soon as I finished eating my food and absorbing about 40 [Vitality] and [Strength] cores, I went towards the bed to get some rest. Before sleeping, I made sure to activate [Arctic Armor]
[Focus: - ]
[Skill(s): (Fireball-81)(Heal-1)(Arctic Armor- 5)]
Morning came. It was around 6 am when I woke up. The bed had an outline of frost from where I was sleeping. I checked my panel to see that [Arctic Armor] had its proficiency rise to 61. It became slightly thicker and now looked like there was almost an armor of ice all over my body. I felt extremely comfortable sleeping with the skill activated, my body feeling a cooling sensation throughout
I grabbed a quick shower and cleaned up, and then went to grab some breakfast in the dining area. After finishing the food, I checked around the hunter shops in the hotel just to see if the skills I had in mind would be there, but I wasn’t so lucky. There were a variety of Rank C-F skills, but none that fully fit the guidelines I had in mind
I went out and hailed another driver to bring me to the largest Awakened Center in Outer Bank X. This center was as large as a stadium, with many hunters and normal humans rushing about. It was already packed early morning, with many things being sold or traded. I first went to trade in the [Core]s I did not absorb in one of the shops, and my account soon had an extra $155,000. Even after I absorbed more than 40 [Core]s, the remaining was still enough to bring me this much from just diving into 2 dungeons. This money brought a smile to my face, even though I knew it would soon be gone
Ignoring everything else, I went to the shop that had a huge sign of [Skill Books]
There were hundreds of skill books laid behind thick glass with their descriptions written out. On either side of the entrance were two hunters who seemed to be Rank D or above
I went into the shop and sure enough, there were a few books that fit my criteria. The first skill that fit exactly what I wanted was the rank D skill, [Flames of Torment]. The skill allowed you to cast a pillar of flames at a maximum distance of 10 meters and would last as long as energy is applied. The skill neared rank C in power but was neglected by many hunters because of its high energy usage characteristic. It fit perfectly with me. With its high damage, the pillar of flames would continue to be concentrated into a line of fire that burns anything in front of me
The next skill that matched what I was looking for and I actually had enough money to buy was another Rank D skill called [Safeguard]. This was a very peculiar skill that caused headaches for many tanks. Casting this skill greatly boosted your defense, and even fully absorbed all damage from lower-ranking skills. The only downside was its high energy requirement and the fact that you could not move while this skill was active
BOSSES regularly move and attack anything that damages them, if they see their attacks aren’t getting through a tank that is standing still, they will simply move to attack other party members that are causing it harm. Tanks who first used this skill caused the death of many spell casters, as they were too late catching up to the monster after being able to move again. You also never want to be a mage with your flimsy defense to cast this skill and standstill, as soon as your mana runs out you will be surrounded and...
Because of all this, a D rank skill book that normally goes for around $100 k, I was able to buy for $60 k. With the [Flames of Torment] being $90 k, I had effectively used almost all the money I made the day prior.
Now, it was time to go back to the [Frozen Wasteland]